Category Archives: Response 3

Ged’s Growth

In “A Wizard of Earthsea,” the protagonist Ged grows from overconfidence to maturity as the tale progresses, turning him into a wiser and humbler man.

Ged, a boy with magical talent, appears overly eager to display his skills to anyone who doubts him.  Upon meeting the Lord of Re Albi’s daughter near the beginning of the story, Ged feels “a desire to win her admiration” and to get her to praise him (20). At her interest, he casually discusses difficult powers—for example, summoning spirits or changing forms—as if they are simple and trivial, and “he [falls] to boasting again,” despite not knowing whether he could do them or not (21).  His attempts to appear knowledgeable are tested, however, when she asks him to do one of the spells.  She asks him tauntingly if he is scared to try, and this question brings out more than ever his desire to impress her; “he [will] not endure” having her think that he could not do something, or, even worse, he could not have her think that he was afraid (22).  He quickly goes to get a book of spells, the girl’s “mockery always in his mind” (22).  Though inwardly afraid, he tries to call back spirits, doing what he later learns is a terrible spell (22).  The readers see that Ged is obsessed with what people think of him; he is determined to show them that he has amazing skill, no matter what.

However, when Ged meets the girl again years later, he portrays a different attitude toward magic.  She shows him the Terrenon stone, a stone of terrible power, and he “[stands] dumb and wary” as he looks at it rather than with fascination (115). She asks him to touch it because of the stone’s great power, but he refuses, aware that “she might … [be] testing him” (115). This time it does not bother him if he cannot do what she asks; he does not fall for the temptation of touching the stone.  In his youth, Ged was overly concerned with how many spells he could do and how talented he could appear to others.  Here, however, he realizes that people should not play around with dangerous and powerful forms of magic.  He seems not to care if she scorns him, as shown when she asks him if he “fear[s] the stone” (115).  He tells her that he does fear it, and this simple statement proves more than anything else his change of attitude.  When he was young, Ged could not stand the thought of people thinking he was afraid of powerful magic.  As he matured, however, Ged realized that such dangerous forms of magic ought to be feared, not adored, and that true magical skill was found in a person who knew this fact.  Ged resists touching the Terrenon, and through his wiser attitude toward magic and his newfound humility, he saves himself from whatever terrible power would have come out of the stone.

Personality through Feelings

One’s inner personality is different than his or her outer personality. One may seem really nice but
might not actually be nice. In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursuala K. Le Guin attempts to show one’s inner feelings, and how they get denied most of the time.

In the beginning of the novel, Ged is sent to a school to learn more and become more powerful. In school, some of his friends put him to the test to see how powerful he is. “What do you know of know” (Guin 57). This shows how Ged can be easily influenced by what someone said something to him. The author is referring to how one is easily influenced by his or her peers. Guin refers to the fact that one accepts others feelings more than his or her own. When Ged does not accept his feelings he releases the darkness from within him.

In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged runs away to save his life when he finds that the shadow is after him. When Ged finally meets the shadow to face to face in the final battle, he finds out the reality of the shadow.  “At first it was shapeless, but as it grew nearer it took on the look of a man” (Guin 178). At
first Ged did not really understand what was going on because the shadow kept on changing, but eventually he understood that the shadow was a part of him. This shows us that one tends to hide his or her feelings most of the time, and eventually the feeling are unleashed. When Ged released the shadow earlier, he never guessed that shadow and the darkness was a part of him. He kept running away from it and kept thinking that it was because of his spell, but the shadow
was actually all of his hidden feelings.

One’s personality is based on his or her feelings. When the feelings are hidden and kept inside they need a way of getting out one ends up acting differently than they normally would. Guin attempted to show this through her character of Ged. Ged finally defeated the shadow by learning how to accept his feelings.




Guin, Ursula K. A Wizard of Earthsea. New York: Bantam, 1968. Print.


Accepting your outcome makes life more enjoyable.

Ged is chasing the shadow now instead of fleeing from it.  He goes on a boat but he cannot go onto any island because all the islanders are afraid of him because the shadow portrayed him and scared everyone on the islands.  He finally gets to the island of Iffish where his friend Vetch is the mage.  Vetch agrees to help Ged find the shadow and they go off to find it.  Ged goes off to confront the shadow by himself and they both talk at the same time and call each other “Ged”.   “Ged reached out his hands, dropping his staff, and took hold of his shadow, of the black self that reached out to him.  Light and darkness met, and joined, and were one” (179).  All along he needed to realize that it was ok to die, it happens to everyone and he had to embrace that it would happen to him eventually as well. Ged was always convinced that the shadow had a name even though all his teachers at school thought it was nameless and in the end it was just himself. Ged learns that the shadow is himself and he also learned to accept the chance of himself dying.  After he accepted these facts he could finally be freed from the pursuing shadow.  “Ged had neither lost nor won but, naming the shadow of his death with his own name, had made himself whole: a man: who, knowing his whole truth self, cannot be used or possessed by any power other than himself” (181).  Once we learn to accept our true selves and our eventual outcome then we can live our life to the fullest and be able to have a good time.

What’s in a name?

A name is an important identifier for a person, not only in “The Wizard of Earthsea”, but in the real world as well. It is a way to identify people around you and is a representation in words of who you are. The importance of a name in the real world is revealed by how people tend to have negative or positive reactions to names, based on previous experiences with people who had these names. In “The Wizard of Earthsea” names not only hold a representation of a person, as in our world, but also hold their hidden identity and reveal their inner self.

It is evident fairly early in the novel how important the name is to each individual person in the world where Ged lives. Ged participates in naming ceremony on his thirteenth birthday, where he walks naked “into the cold springs of the Ar where it rises among rocks under the high cliffs”, and receives the name Ged from Ogion (16). Ged’s name is so vital to his identity that only he and Ogion know it at first. His former name, Duny, given to him by his mother as a baby, is carelessly thrown away with little importance.

Although this change in name appears meaningless, even silly at first, it gradually becomes clearer that in Ged’s society, your name is one of your best kept secrets. When Vetch leaves the school for wizards and tells Ged farewell, Vetch reveals his true name, Estarriol. Ged is shocked by this action, as a true name is something “he may choose at length to tell it to his brother, or his wife, or his friend, yet even those few will never use it where any third person may hear it”(75). In Ged’s world, only your closest friends know your true name, and Ged and Vetch sharing their names with one another is symbolic of the strength of their friendship. For them, knowing a name is not something trivial that you can easily look up in the phonebook, but an honor.

However in the same way, a person discovering a name sooner than desired, is dishonoring to the individual whose name was revealed. As revealed when Ged encounters the dragon, Yevaud. “At the sound of [the name], the old dragon held still, utterly still”(99). The dragon is deeply upset that Ged knows his name and suddenly does not wish to fight Ged any longer or play with his mind. Name proves to be Ged’s secret weapon in this case, by humiliating the dragon. The dragon is ashamed that he has failed to protect his secret identity and loses all will to fight.

So be aware next time you tell someone your name that you are in saying those two syllables giving away a part of your true identity.


Awareness Makes Me Higher


Throughout C.S. Lewis’ story “The Lion, The Witch, And the Wardrobe” he presents a hierarchy of characters. C.S. Lewis determines this hierarchy by dividing those who are good, those who are evil and those who are both. He does this by presenting those characters that have complete control over their actions and those characters that can only do so instinctively.  At the bottom of the hierarchy, are the animals and trees, above them are the Pevensie children and Mr. Tumnus, above them is the White Witch, and finally at the highest level is Aslan.                                                                                                              

Within his hierarchy, Lewis places the animals and trees on the bottom. “‘They’re good birds in all the stories I’ve read. I’m sure a robin wouldn’t be on the wrong side… [Similarly] most of [the trees] are on our side, but there are trees that would betray us to her’” (Lewis 67-73). The trees and the animals share a common bond.  Both the animals of the story and the trees can only be good or bad, neither can be both. These characters are on the bottom of the hierarchy because they cannot change from bad to good or vice versa instead they can only act on instinct.                                                                                        

The next level of the hierarchy contains both the Pevensie children and Mr. Tumnus. “It wasn’t a very good excuse, however, for deep down inside of him he really knew that the White Witch was bad and cruel” (Lewis 97). Although Edmund starts out as a loathsome character, he soon realizes the evil he has caused and starts out on a new path towards redemption. Like Edmund, Mr. Tumnus also finds redemption after he too sees the error of his ways. “‘Of course I can’t give you up to the White Witch; not now that I know you’” (Lewis 22). Though he knows that letting Lucy leave may cause his ruin, Mr. Tumnus does it anyway because he knows that it is right. This level of the hierarchy is rather important to the structure because it shows human and half human characters who can be both good and evil.

In the next level of the hierarchy is the White Witch. “‘Now I will kill you instead of him…But when you are dead what will prevent me from killing him as well? In this knowledge despair and die’” (Lewis 170). The White Witch is completely evil. She is the temptress of all chacters. The White Witch is a slave to her own selfishness and cannot be good. She is an animal in humanlike form because she acts on her instincts and own personal gain.

Finally the highest level of the hierarchy contains Aslan.  “‘[W]hen a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead the table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards’” (Lewis 179)Through Aslan’s sacrifice Edmund is able to be redeemed. In contrast to the Witch, Aslan is all good and helps others to achieve goodness. Though an animal, Aslan embodies human characteristics; he is even greater than that because he is pure of heart.

The many character of C.S. Lewis’ story live within a hierarchy of Narnian society which presents both the good and evil of the story, who can control their actions and those who cannot. The level of awareness of each character determines his or her level within the hierarchy.  By presenting the different levels of characters Lewis teaches his audience – mainly children – that one is responsible for his or her actions.